Write-thru Monday 1:20 PM, after Sunday 3:38 PM PT: All final grosses are in except for La La Land from Lionsgate and will update when we receive them. In the meantime, Disney/Lucasfilm’s new band of rebels this weekend scored the 4th best December opening ever at the international box office. With $134.9M overseas, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story landed behind only Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($281M), Avatar ($164.5M) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($138M). The global cume thus far is around $290M. This is the same weekend that last year saw The Force Awakens take hold of the galaxy as it began a run towards nearly $2.1B worldwide.
Standalone spinoff Rogue One was never expected to play to Force Awakens-style numbers, but even K-2SO would be hard-pressed to find anything to fret upon. The pent-up demand for TFA was built over a decade and caused a tremor in fans young and old, as well as the uninitiated. Rogue One is playing like a ‘normal’ blockbuster — albeit one with a rarefied pedigree. The lucrative holiday period is just kicking in and the film is expected to stretch out, benefiting from the strong critical and audience response. Also, China is still to come on January 6.
Given that market’s unfamiliarity with the Force, the most recent Star Wars movie is a reasonable comp in the Middle Kingdom. TFA did $124M there and Rogue One should be helped by increased awareness of the franchise as well as the inclusion of Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen in key roles.
Speaking of China, and similar to last year at this time, the No. 2 movie at the international box office is a PROC release. Legendary’s The Great Wall built a $67M start to land it among the best openers of the year alongside The Mermaid, Captain America: Civil War and Warcraft as it heads towards $100M.
Compared to last year, the Top 10 at the international box office is down 37% while it’s up 78% on last week. Coming up, Fox’s Assassin’s Creed begins offshore rollout as does Sony’s Passengers. Illumination/Universal’s Sing will expand its lungs. We’ll also keep an eye on Dangal, a return to the Christmas frame for Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan which hails from Disney’s UTV. Khan’s last Christmas movie was PK in 2014 and has remained the No. 1 Bollywood grosser of all time (Dangal‘s release comes just as Pakistan has reportedly lifted a ban on Indian films).
Breakdowns on all titles have been updated below the original post with the exception of Hacksaw Ridge. We are waiting on detail of its weekend which comScore has at $8.6M. It’s been doing bang-up business in China with a $35M cume according to local reporting after this frame. Also notable this session, Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them crossed double milestones with grosses now at $500M+ internationally and $700M+ worldwide (detail below).
PREVIOUS, Sunday, 8:58 AM PT: Playing in 54 material offshore markets this weekend, Disney/Lucasfilm’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story stormed a $134.9M opening to score the 4th biggest December bow ever at the international box office. The spinoff comes in behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($281M), Avatar ($164.5M) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($138M). Combined with domestic, where it’s the No. 2 best December bow ever, the worldwide debut is $290M (final update). The Gareth Edwards-directed pic was No. 1 in all opening markets and posted the top launch weekend of 2016 in France, Germany, Spain and the UK, among others.
Looking at the same suite of release markets and at today’s exchange rates, Rogue One is running just above half of Force Awakens at this point. It’s playing more like a ‘normal’ blockbuster — less front-loaded than last year’s rebirth of the franchise.
The opening came in at the low end of industry sources’ estimates ahead of the weekend, but many today agree this is a pretty amazing number to pull in the week before Christmas — and on a movie with all new characters. Disney is “right where we wanted to be,” says the studio’s EVP of distribution, Dave Hollis. Rogue One did “exactly what it needed to do as a litmus for the standalones going forward from a commercial and an artistic standpoint. It’s incredibly satisfying that it’s opened the way it has and gotten the reaction that it has despite pre-holiday distractions.”
The UK leads overseas play with $21M and 75% of the market share. Jyn Erso and the crew of Rogue One landed the 2nd best December bow ever there, behind just The Force Awakens.
The critically embraced film (84% Fresh) hit France on Wednesday followed by such majors as the UK, Australia, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and Italy on Thursday. On Friday, the key majors outside domestic were Japan and Spain. The only territories not releasing this weekend were Korea (which goes December 28 to stay away from local competition), and China, which enlists January 6.
In IMAX, the movie grossed $29.2M worldwide on 708 screens for the 2nd biggest December IMAX start ever behind only Force Awakens. It’s also a Top 10 all-time global IMAX opening — notably sans China and Korea in the mix. Overseas, Rogue One made off with $10.2M on 307 screens to become the No. 2 December opening ever for the format internationally.
Meanwhile, opening in China this weekend, Legendary’s action fantasy The Great Wall got off to a $67.4M (RMB 469M) start. The Zhang Yimou-directed pic stars Matt Damon in the biggest China-U.S. co-production ever. In the Middle Kingdom, we’re hearing there’s been some social media backlash. However, the solid start tops all recent debut comps for Damon (already outgrossing the lifetime of Jason Bourne) and Zhang’s 2015 Dragon Blade. It nabbed the 2nd highest December IMAX opening of all time and the No. 3 start ever for a local title behind last year’s The Ghouls and Monster Hunt.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them has crossed the $500M mark internationally and the $700M mark globally. The studio’s Sully also flew past the $100M international milestone with $103.5M.
Breakdowns on those and more have been updated below:
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
Disney/Lucasfilm’s standalone spinoff of the Star Wars franchise blasted off to a final $134.9M (a smidgen off from Sunday’s estimate of $135.5M) start in 54 material markets this weekend (71% of the international footprint). The bow is the 4th best for the month of December ever at the international box office with 2016 records set in myriad overseas hubs.
The movie’s opening comes in behind leading all-time December launches Star Wars: The Force Awakens ($281M), Avatar ($164.5M) and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ($138M). The latter film is the best comp in terms of similarly being a spinoff of a billion-dollar franchise. It legged to a $718M international gross. Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them opened to $145.5M in November and has, through today, taken $509.8M overseas.
As we turn the corner into the lucrative holiday season, the thinking is that Rogue One (which is 84% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and has an A CinemaScore domestically) will continue to play throughout. Winter blockbusters have lower drops than summer tentpoles and there is no significant competition on the horizon.
It bears noting again that comping Rogue One as apples-to-apples with last year’s hyperdrive revival of the franchise, The Force Awakens, is not appropriate given this film’s new characters and the decade of pent-up demand for TFA‘s Han, Leia, Chewie and more.
However, in terms of timing and playability, Force Awakens continued strongly into mid-January and the expectation is to see the same thing happen here. Word of mouth is Force-ful and Disney’s Hollis says that in some places where the brand isn’t as strong, the hope is that the standalone films like Rogue One “create a way in for the uninitiated.”
Rogue One opened at No. 1 in all markets this weekend and is the best start of 2016 in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland (non-local), Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK/Ireland.
In individual markets, the UK leads with $21.6M and 75% market share. It is the 2nd biggest December opening ever (behind only Force Awakens). It landed ahead of all three Hobbit films and the recent release of Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, another spinoff of a major series.
Rounding out the Top 5, in Germany, Rogue One tallied $12.3M with 56% of the market. Australia follows with $10.9M and the 3rd biggest Disney bow ever, behind Force Awakens and Avengers: Age Of Ultron. France is next with $9.9M, coming in ahead of the first Hobbit and Fantastic Beasts. Japan, which was the lead market on Revenge Of The Sith, which Rogue One follows chronologically, grossed $7.8M for the No. 3 opening of a Western title this year after Fantastic Beasts and Finding Dory.
The bottom half of the Top 10 includes Russia ($5.6M), Brazil ($5.2M), Mexico ($5.1M), Spain ($4.7M) and Sweden ($3.5M and 66% of the market).
The Force was with Asia Pacific market shares: Hong Kong (72%), Singapore (71%), Philippines (70%), Malaysia (65%) and Thailand (59%).
In IMAX play, Rogue One grossed $10.2M from 307 screens. It saw the biggest opening ever for the format in Japan, Denmark and Belgium. For 2016, it’s the best start in those markets as well as the UK, Germany, Austria, France, Portugal and New Zealand. It’s the No. 2 biggest December IMAX start ever internationally.
Korea is on deck on December 28 and China bows on January 6. In China particularly, the film will have the benefit of local stars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen in key, charming roles.
Part of the push in China included the first ever integration in Shanghai featuring TIE fighter and X-wing replicas and costumes; and custom print materials and trailers. There were also premium interactive mall events in Shanghai and Guangzhou featuring the “Mission Recon” VR Experience.
Other notable promotions included Japan’s Nagoya City Science Museum being turned into the Death Star; Rogue One “Rebel Chic” designs at Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Brazil; a Stormtrooper march in London, as well as the takeover of the North and South Terminals at the UK’s Gatwick Airport; and a live music event at UNIQLO flagship Oxford Street store.
THE GREAT WALL
Zhang Yimou’s highly-anticipated action-fantasy, The Great Wall, released in China on Friday, taking $60M for the weekend and has a cume of $67M. Starring Matt Damon, the film has already bested the lifetime of his last pic to play in the market, Jason Bourne, and nearly doubles the start of The Martian in 2015. It also scored the 2nd highest December IMAX opening of all time and the No. 3 start ever for a local title behind last year’s The Ghouls and Monster Hunt.
The film currently has a score of 5.4 on local online ratings site Douban, out of about 60K people commenting. That’s up a bit from Friday with most people giving it three out of five stars.
The Great Wall topped the recent debuts of such Hollywood pics as Fantastic Beasts ($40.5M) and Doctor Strange ($43.6M). Those aren’t direct comps, however. Zhang’s last movie, 2015’s Dragon Blade, opened to about $55M and ended up around $117M.
The $60M start for the three-day and $67M total may not exactly be a number you can see from space, but it’s a solid debut and is actually about on par with Warcraft’s first FSS this past summer. The two films are related via Legendary, but again aren’t apples-to-apples comps. Warcraft legged out to $221M in the Middle Kingdom after an opening five-day frame of $156M was fed by a long history with and nostalgia for the videogame source material. The Great Wall will look to mid-weeks to lift it towards the $100M mark with IMAX still a big component. There’s the threat looming of Jackie Chan-starrer Railroad Tigers on the horizon in what has become an increasingly unpredictable market amid a big slowdown in growth.
The biggest-ever China-U.S. co-production (with a reported $150M budget), The Great Wall is being watched as a potential model for Hollywood/Middle Kingdom tie-ups that can work in the global market. It marks the kick-off in earnest of Thomas Tull’s Legendary East and comes after China giant Wanda acquired Legendary in January this year. Universal is distributing the film in the rest of the world. Legendary financed with Universal, China Film Group and Le Vision Pictures. Distribution partners in the PROC are CFG, Le Vision, Wanda and Legendary East.
Wanda is key with the Legendary parent also the largest owner of Chinese movie screens at about 18% of the roughly 40,000. But, while we don’t have an exact screen count, it doesn’t appear Great Wall got the Warcraft real estate treatment. That film released in June in an unprecedented wide release on 67.5% of screens. However, advance demand is understood to have been higher than on the current title. We’ll update with more detail.
Warner Bros’ release of New Line/Village Roadshow’s tearjerker opened in 16 overseas markets for an estimated $4.9M. The all-star cast is led by Will Smith as a New York ad executive who loses his daughter and begins to write letters to Love, Death, and Time. Looking to sell the company out from under him, his colleagues hire actors to impersonate the recipients of the missives. Smith’s character talks extensively with them, as his associates hatch a plan, leading to a weepy finale. The picture has made $12M worldwide after a lackluster opening domestically this weekend of $7.1M.
The holiday-themed film has fared poorly with critics domestically, but also saw an A- CinemaScore and the hope is that it can rise above the reviews and find its audience. My colleague Anthony D’Alessandro takes a look at it here.
Offshore, this is a staggered release with Mexico, Russia and the UAE leading this frame. Mexico opened to $1.6M from 1,045 screens for No. 2 behind Rogue One. The results are higher than recent comps Silver Linings Playbook and Birdman. Russia grossed $1.5M on 879 screens and ranking No. 3. The bow also bests the comps, and is 20% higher than New Year’s Eve. The UAE also landed at No. 2 with 358K and well outperforming the comps. Those comps include Smith’s dramas Seven Pounds ($98M intl/58% of global) and The Pursuit Of Happyness ($143.5M intl/46.7% of global).
David Frankel directs with Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton, Michael Pena and Naomie Harris among the supporting cast.
The next openings are France, Spain and the UK with the rest of the key markets going after the New Year.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Universal has international in several territories on the Casey Affleck-starring drama from Kenneth Lonergan. The first offshore play kicked off in France on Wednesday with $527K at 162 dates, up against the four-quadrant movies in the marketplace and some notable local fare. Uni’s expecting a solid run over the holidays on the awards-season title. The next openings are Germany and the Netherlands on January 19 and Austria on January 20.
In 32 international markets, Disney’s Moana caught an extra $1M from its Sunday estimate and now is a $16.5M waterfall this frame for an overseas cume of $120M and a global boatload of $282.9M. No new plays were added this session, but while Rogue One raged, Moana dipped by 41% in existing hubs. In Europe, this week marked the start of school holidays and the Polynesian navigator held with a 30% dip across the region. France is still a top market with a 14% slide this frame for a great $16.3M cume. Moana is currently tracking ahead of Tangled and Frozen in the market.
In the UK, Moana saw a 26% drop for an $8.6M take and held No. 2 behind Rogue One. In China, she added $2M for $28.2M total. That’s the lead market, followed by France, Russia ($11.6M), Mexico ($8.7M) and the UK ($8.7M). Germany and Italy hop on board next weekend ahead of continued key releases through March
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Warner Bros’ Beasts still have some magic in them. The Wizarding World spinoff from creator JK Rowling, director David Yates and producer David Heyman has now crossed the $500M mark internationally with another $15M added this weekend from 8,198 screens in 66 overseas markets. That lifts the cume to $510.3M offshore and $718M+ worldwide. The top play is still China with $84.8M, followed by the UK ($56M), Japan ($43.7M), Korea ($33M) and Germany ($29.9M).
OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY
In its 2nd weekend out, Paramount’s Party did a $4.6M keg-stand to bring the studio’s offshore cume to $19.8M. With a further 32 markets not handled by PPI, the weekend saw a total $8.6M for a full $34.8M cume overseas. With $3.8M to date, Russia leads on the pic that stars TJ Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman and Kate McKinnon. Par releases its last two markets this week. It has culled a worldwide total to date of $66.4M.
Illumination/Universal’s feel-good “let’s put on a show” show is now playing in just 15 markets with a weekend estimate of $6.6M. The overseas cume is $17.26M. Tuning up early in this bucket of hubs to capitalize on public and school holidays, this is the soft rollout ahead of 35 more markets opening along with North America next weekend. They’ll include Brazil, Mexico and Spain. The Netherlands was a key opening this frame with a great $1M start at 296 dates, on pace with holiday comps. Germany held No. 2 behind Rogue One for a $2.8M weekend and an 11-day total of $7.3M.
Clint Eastwood’s Miracle on the Hudson drama flew past $100M at the international box office this weekend. Landing a further $4.6M in 24 markets, the film has lifted its cume to $103.5M. The major opening this frame was Brazil with $615K on 266 for a No. 4 start. That’s on par with Tom Hanks-starrer Bridge Of Spies and 17% over his Captain Phillips. It’s 23% above Flight and has a worldwide box office of $228.3M so far.
LA LA LAND
Awards season charmer La La Land stepped it up a notch in overseas markets with a $4.7M weekend for an $11.46M cume. That’s in 14 hubs which notably include Korea where the Damien Chazelle-directed musical ranked No. 2, behind local pic Pandora, for the 2nd consecutive frame and has now twirled to $9.5M. The weekend increased 2% over last session. The Netherlands opens this week followed by Australia on December 26. In the states, the film has opened in limited release and is doing quite well per screen. To date, La La Land has grossed a total of $10M worldwide and it’s just getting started.
MISC UPDATED CUMES/NOTEWORTHY
Arrival (SNY/var): $3.3M intl weekend (approx. 42 markets); $54.4M intl cume, $141M worldwide.
Underworld: Blood Wars (SNY): $3.4M intl weekend (55 markets); $42.7M intl cume.
Trolls (FOX): $3M intl weekend (58 markets); intl cume $176.5M; $323.9M worldwide.
Allied (Par): $2.1M intl weekend (35 markets); $38.2M intl cume; $76.7M worldwide.
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (FOX): $1.6M intl weekend (9 markets, incl Italy open at $1.4M); $193.5M intl cume; $280.2M worldwide.
Nocturnal Animals (UNI): $571K intl weekend (28 markets); $11.3M intl cume; $20.1M worldwide.
Doctor Strange (DIS): $700K intl weekend (37 markets); $426.6M intl cume; $652.8M worldwide.
Chinese thriller The Wasted Times was the major local-language entry this weekend. Directed by Chang Er, it’s about a Shanghai crime boss and is set against the backdrop of the second Sino-Japanese War. Zhang Ziyi stars in the film which grossed $9M in four markets, per comScore.